Are dates good for you? Benefits and nutrition

Delectable And Divine

Dates help prevent cancer, enhance digestive function and boost energy and immunity levels. These brown coloured, crinkly nutrient dense bombs pack a winning punch. Therefore, relish this fruit, commonly known as khajoor not only for its divine sweetness but also to benefit from its vast health promoting, healing and disease fighting properties.

While Ayurveda lists dates as a food with madhur rasa that balances the vata and pitta elements, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures consider dates super fruits with innumerable qualities required for growth, development and general well-being. Belonging to the palm Arecacaea’ family, dates are listed under drupes and have a fleshy exterior and a hardened seed at the centre, The popular varieties of dates are mejdool, khadrawy, bahree, saidy and deglect noor all of which boast of a soft luscious flavour, honey-like sweetness and high sucrose-fructose content. They can be enjoyed as snacks, chutneys, syrups, drinks, desserts (stuffed with nuts, cheese and fruit peels) or even added to savoury dishes such as tagines and pilafs.

Nutritional Value Dates are high on sugar content and glycemic index and low on fat and sodium. A total of 100 grams of dates provide approximately 280 kcals with 75 grams of carbohydrates (predominantly simple sugars like glucose and fructose), 2.5 grams of proteins, 8 grams of dietary fibre and a whopping 656 mg of potassium and 65 mg of magnesium.

Dates also provide vitamins A, B, E and K and trace minerals such as copper, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium, and fluorine. Dried dates are more energy dense and concentrated with more vitamins and minerals than fresh dates, but if you are a diabetic or are trying to lose weight, you should opt for fresh dates.

What Dates Do

Promotes Digestion
Due to its high fibre content, dates help improve the digestive function and alleviate constipation, stomach ulcers and acidity problems. The combination of soluble and insoluble fibre in dates exhibits a laxative effect, cleanses the colon and ensure an efficient gastrointestinal activity. Soaking dates overnight and having them in the morning is an age-old home remedy for improving bowel movement.

Improves Heart Health
As dates are low in cholesterol and sodium, they quality as heart friendly foods. Consume three-four dates every day to improve heart health by lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and strengthen heart muscles. Also, the protective beta glucans and magnesium in dates helps reduce free radical oxidation and the risk of atherosclerosis and heart stroke.’

Lowers Blood Pressure
The significant amounts of potassium and magnesium in dates aid ¡n lowering blood pressure by maintaining optimum sodium-potassium electrolyte balance. Dates are a rich source of vitamin A and this helps improve eye health and to decrease age related macular degeneration. night blindness and also other vision disorders. The carotenoids present in dates help fight infections and keep immunity levels high too.

Boosts Energy Levels
Besides being excellent sources of calories, dates are also loaded with B vitamins that play an important role in regulating body’s enzymatic activity and metabolism. Dietary fibre helps curb cravings, maintains sugar levels and energy levels are sustained for a longer duration. Prepare yourself an energizing banana, date and nut smoothie after a strenuous workout or toss a handful of chopped dates in a bowl of yogurt to beat fatigue and step up energy and stamina levels. They also make a good snack choice when you are at work or on the go.

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Prevents Cancer And Anaemia
Studies show that the range of flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthins present in dates contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties that may help lower the risk for colon, prostrate, breast and abdominal cancers. Magnesium works to decrease the levels of inflammatory indicators like C-reactive protein and interleukin while iron helps by enhancing the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. Dates also contain significantly high amounts of ¡ron and are recommended for growing children, pregnant women and those suffering from anaemia.

Strengthens Bones
Calcium content is high in dates, making them a good snack option for strengthening bones and teeth and also preventing the incidence of osteoporosis, especially in menopausal women.

Improves Skin And Hair Health
Besides boosting our health, dates also possess amazing anti-ageing and skin rejuvenating attributes. Consume dates daily as a part of a healthy diet, use them as soothing face packs or massage the scalp with date oil to enjoy glowing skin and lustrous hair.

Helps Enhance Memory
Vitamin B6 and E and minerals such as zinc, selenium and copper in dates help boost brain efficiency, memory and alertness.

Dried dates are more energy dense and concentrated with more vitamins and minerals than fresh dates

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